Described from a collection made at Huntington Lake, in Sierra National Forest, California, USA (Thiers & Smith 1969). There is at least one similar (and apparently rare) undescribed species C. velatus has been mistaken for. Work on western North American ‘velate’ Cortinarius is underway, which should clarify names.
Cortinarius velatus is a medium-sized mushroom with a short, stout stature, a lilac to lavender cap, a thick, persistent veil, and rusty spores. Typically buried or growing under duff. Very rare; known from three collections, two of which were made prior to 1975. It is known from the central and southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California, USA, in high elevation Lodgepole Pine and fir (Abies spp.) forests.
Known from high elevation forests in the southern and central Sierra Nevada in California.
Extremely rare, occurring in high elevation Sierra Nevada forests. Currently known from two historic collections and one more recent collection (Siegel et al. 2019). Also reported (but apparently not collected) from an additional site (Thiers & Smith 1969). More data are needed to identify the factors constituting suitable habitat for this species, and thus assessing trends.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Scattered or in small clusters, typically buried in duff, rarely breaking through the soil surface. Ectomycorrhizal with conifers, but exact host associations unknown. The most recent collection was in Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana) and Red Fir (Abies magnifica) forest. Fruiting in summer and fall.
Too little is known regarding this species’ habitat preferences to properly assess possible threats. But the habitat it occurs in has endured prolonged droughts and decades of fire suppression have drastically altered western montane forests, leading to thicker, denser, Abies dominated forests. As a result, hotter, stand replacing fires (rather than patchwork and understory burns) are commonplace, altering appropriate habitat drastically, and making it ill-suited for this species.
Protect known populations from logging, development and other disturbance.
Surveys for additional populations of this species. Better understand and describe habitat limitations of this species.
Siegel, N., Vellinga, E.C., Schwarz, C., Castellano, M.A. and Ikeda, D. 2019. A Field Guide to the Rare Fungi of California’s National Forests. Bookmobile: Minneapolis, MN. 313 p.
Thiers, H.D. and Smith, A.H. 1969. Hypogeous Cortinarii. Mycologia 61: 526–536.